Clean Intermittent Catheter Insertion Instructions

Some patients, including those with spina bifida, neurogenic bladder or urinary retention, may be asked to use clean intermittent catheters (CIC) during the day. These catheters empty the bladder of urine when a child is unable to do this on their own. Using CIC reduces the chances of urinary tract infections and prevents damage to the bladder, ureters and kidneys in children unable to fully empty their bladders independently.

Those who need clean intermittent catheters will be instructed in the office on proper technique. The following is to be used as a general guideline after proper training.

Getting ready to insert the catheter:

Before inserting the catheter, it is important to have all of the supplies and the area ready. Caregivers should have:

  • A clean, dry catheter.
  • If the catheter is not hydrophilic (hydrophilic means it contains a package of lubricant within the catheter), be sure to have a water-soluble lubricant like K-Y jelly on hand.
  • Never use petroleum jelly like Vaseline.
  • A diaper, absorbent cloth, basin, or toilet nearby that the urine will drain into.

Inserting the catheter:

  1. The person inserting or assisting with the insertion of the catheter, including the child, should wash his or her hands well with soap and water.
  2. Position the child comfortably on their back. Make sure the genitalia area is clean of stool and visible dirt.
  3. With a hydrophilic catheter, squeeze the lubricant package so it coats the length of the catheter before opening the bag. Then open the bag. If the catheter is a non-hydrophillic catheter, open the catheter bag and without touching the tip apply the lubricant to the length of the catheter.
  4. Gently insert the catheter into the child’s meatus (the hole where the urine comes out) until urine is flowing freely from the open end of the catheter. (This will be demonstrated on the child by a member of our team in our office.)
  5. Allow the urine to drain until it stops flowing. Then slowly start to pull the catheter back out. If at any point while pulling the catheter out of the body more urine begins to drain out, stop and allow it to drain completely before continuing to pull it out.
  6. Once the catheter is removed, either dispose of it or soak the catheter in isopropyl alcohol for ten minutes and remove to dry before reusing another time.